No, this isn’t a “look at me, I’m so good” post. It’s actually something I wanted to share because it has helped me to improve my productivity significantly.
A few months ago, as I was checking out Psychology Today for interesting articles to blog about, I found an old post about the importance of getting rid of clutter. The post was aimed at people with ADD, but I took the advice to heart and decided to unclutter my desk.
Or, at least the part of my desk that was directly in my field of vision. Since doing so, I’ve been much more productive and far less prone to distractions. By keeping my devices (phone, iPad) and other necessary items out of my direct line of sight, it was easier to forget about them and focus only on what I was doing.
Yesterday, I found another interesting article on Psychology Today titled, “5 Reasons to Streamline Your Life“. Basically, it gives five simple reasons why it’s important to unclutter your spaces:
- Clutter stops your home from feeling like a “retreat”. Your home (or work space, for me) should be your place of peace, but clutter actually stops you from identifying the space as “home”. Instead, it feels more like something else that needs cleaning.
- Clutter creates stress and decreases mental wellbeing. A 2017 study found that a clean, uncluttered environment helped to improve “mental hygiene”, leading to better workplace satisfaction.
- Clutter leads to poor food choices. Say what? An Australian study found that people who lived in chaotic environments were more prone to poor food choices (snacking).
- Clutter impedes efficient thinking. Your eyes are always processing information, so anything in your direct field of vision is taking up “mental real estate”. That means less real estate is available for processing other, more important information.
- Clutter prevents effective visual processing. More visual stimuli can “dilute” your attention, making it harder for your brain to process information. The more cluttered the background, the harder it is to interpret emotional expressions on others’ faces.
Fascinating, isn’t it? A bit of clutter really can make a huge (negative) difference in productivity. I’m going to keep doing my best to unclutter my desk and maintain a distraction-free field of vision. It’s worked wonders so far, and will continue to free up mental real estate for all the important tasks I need to accomplish throughout the day.